Ayurveda self-guide


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Ayurveda self-guide

  1. 1. Table of Contents Chapter 1 Lifestyle & Daily Routine for HealthandLongevity Chapter 2 Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion Chapter 3 Purify Your 7 Tissues for Better Health and Energy Chapter 4 The 3 Doshas and Your Health Chapter 5 Balance Your Subdoshas for Greater Healing Power Chapter 6 Maharishi Ayurveda Herbal Preparations Chapter 7 Practical Application of your Ayurvedic Program Appendix 1: Herbalized Oil Massage—Secret of Youthful Skin Appendix 2: Exercise According to Your Constitutional Type Appendix 3: Insomnia Appendix 4: Cold Appendix 5: Weight Loss Appendix 6: Beauty and Skin Care Disclaimer: The information in this booklet is intended for educational purposes only. It is NOT for the use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. The information in this booklet is given for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine please check with your own personal physician. This booklet does not take the place of a medical consultation and all recommendations should be checked with your health care provider to ensure suitability for you. The statements in this booklet regarding products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. 2
  2. 2. Introduction from Nancy Lonsdorf M.D. In this booklet I have drawn upon all my experience of the last 17 years, including more than ten thousand patient visits, to structure a practical, effective introduction to the healing principles of Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM. Getting healthy requires self-effort. This booklet is for those who wish to take more control of their health in their day to day life. If you are ready to be proactive for your health, then you are ready for Ayurveda. I believe this booklet will provide you with the knowledge you are searching for to naturally and systematically fulfill your health goals. There are two principles that guided me in organizing this Ayurvedic knowledge for you. 1. The knowledge must relate to your personal life at every step. Each section is personalized for you through questionnaires that help you assess your state of balance or health, and shows you how that aspect of Ayurvedic knowledge can deeply influence your health and well-being. Once you understand your symptoms more deeply, and what lifestyle factors are causing them, it is easier to make changes. I feel it is important to have personal questionnaires at each step to inspire you to move away from the symptoms of imbalance and toward the experience of health. 2. The knowledge must sequentially lead you through steps of regaining health that I would use if you were a client in my office Many books on Ayurveda overwhelm readers with too much information, provided in a sequence that is not practical for implementation in daily life. My patients have educated me over the years as to what recommendations have priority and how much a person can reasonably do in his or her life. I wish I could meet all of you in person and develop a personal professional relationship with you. That not being possible in most cases, I feel this booklet is the best attempt I can make to share this health-giving knowledge with as many people as possible. I am glad you are a seeker of health and wish you the greatest success in your endeavor to live the happiest, healthiest life possible. Wishing you the best of health! Nancy Lonsdorf M.D. Note: To receive Dr. Lonsdorf's FREE monthly newsletter and announcements of her consultation and seminar tours to your area provide your e-mail address by clicking here. 3
  3. 3. Chapter 1 Daily Routine Health is won or lost in how we live day-to-day life. It is our patterns of eating, sleeping, work, exercise and what we do to rejuvenate ourselves daily that determines whether we stay healthy or fall sick and how gracefully we age. Health is a choice. We are creating anew our physiology with every action we perform throughout the day. We cannot live a life of health mistakes that create imbalance and then expect our doctor to save us with a "magic bullet" from his drug armamentarium. Imbalances, symptoms and diseases grow from seed form into gross pathology over many years. They are caused by unhealthy choices made day after day. To remove the problem we just cannot avoid having to address its true cause-lifestyle. Even modern medicine is now recognizing that lifestyle and diet are the key to prevention of disease and can actually reverse many disorders. Studies on osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and mental function are showing in many cases that diet and lifestyle outperform the top drug therapies while creating many side-benefits instead of side-effects. I believe that as modern science continues it's investigation over time it will increasingly find that fundamentals of Ayurvedic daily routine discussed in this chapter are the true fundamentals for prevention of disease and restoration of health. While some of the terms may seem new to you at first as you continue with the booklet you will quickly see how powerful the Ayurvedic description of physiology can be for helping you determine what imbalance you have and what to do about it. Following is our first questionnaire on Lifestyle and Daily Routine. I highly recommend you spend three to five minutes and check yes/no answers to the questions. Each of the questions addresses a behavior and lifestyle choice that has significant health ramifications. The "yes" answers are the right answers from an Ayurvedic perspective so you can see the "no" answers you have and quickly pinpoint the areas for focus and improvement. I suggest you mark your answers in pencil so you can come back time and again, turn "no's" into "yes's" and document your progress while reminding yourself of the areas you could still improve. Remember, every aspect of daily routine that you improve will bring you greater energy and mental clarity, a more positive mood and will help resolve any symptoms you may have. The discussion of daily routine that follows is sequenced to match the items in the questionnaire for your easy reference. 4
  4. 4. Lifestyle and Daily Routine Questionnaire Yes answers reflect healthy behaviors from the Ayurvedic perspective. Target the behaviors you respond "no" to and keep changing you lifestyle to lessen the "no" answers. The last columns contain information as to what the "no" behavior is aggravating. Vata, Pitta, Kapha or Ama. A "Y" in the column means that principle is aggravated by a "no" answer. A * by the letter means the unhealthy effect is very strong. If as you go through the booklet you find you have the symptoms of imbalance in Vata, Pitta, Kapha or Ama you can return to this chart and by looking in the appropriate column you can see which behaviors it is most important for you to focus on to remove the imbalance. Evening Routine Do you lie down in bed to sleep before 10:00 PM? Do you AVOID activities that activate the mind like watching TV or reading in the 45 minutes before you start sleep? Do you only use natural fabric sleeping clothes and bedding? Do you go to bed at about the same time each evening? Is your bedroom only used for sleeping i.e. do you avoid working or watching TV in the bedroom? Do you take an evening walk after dinner? Morning Routine Do you normally awake before 6:00 AM? Do you usually have a bowel movement within 1 hour of awakening? Do you drink any water upon awakening? Do you clean the tongue in the morning during or after brushing your teeth? Yes No Aggravate Vata Y* Aggravate Pitta Y* Aggravate Kapha Increases Ama Y* Y Y Aggravate Kapha Y* Aggravate Ama Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Yes No Aggravate Vata Y Aggravate Pitta 5
  5. 5. Do you perform any type of self-massage in the morning? Do you perform yoga in the morning? Do you perform pranayama (yoga breathing techniques) in the morning? Do you meditate in the morning? Do you exercise or take a walk in the morning? Do you wear natural fabric clothing? Is your breakfast lighter and less quantity than your lunch? Do you AVOID meat and eggs at breakfast? Afternoon Routine Do you eat lunch between 12:00 and 1:00 PM Do you normally eat lunch at the same time each day? Do you usually have warm, cooked food at lunch? Do you usually take one-half hour or longer for lunch? Is lunch your largest and most balanced meal of the day? Do you have at least 1015 minutes after you finish your actual eating at lunch before you have to start work? Do you finish work by 5:00? Do you practice asanas after work and before dinner? Do you practice pranayama after work and before dinner? Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y* Aggravate Pitta Y Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Yes No Aggravate Vata Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 6
  6. 6. Do you meditate after work and before dinner? Evening Routine Y Yes Do you start the evening meal before 6:30? Do you eat the evening meal at roughly the same time each day? Do you AVOID meat, cheese and yogurt in the evening meal? Do you AVOID dessert in the evening meal? Is your evening meal considerably lighter then lunch? Do you walk for at least 10 minutes in the evening after dinner? Eating Behavior Yes Do you pay attention to eat according to your hunger level and not eat if not hungry? Do you eat to about 3/4 capacity and NOT feel stuffed after eating? Do you eat at approximately the same times each day? Do you usually avoid taking food other than fruit or drinks for three hours after eating? Do you eat a balanced diet with wide variety of foods? Do you eat in a settled environment and avoid reading, watching TV, standing up or driving while eating? Do you AVOID cold drinks while eating? Do you continue to sit for at least 5 minutes after eating before getting up? No Y Y Y Aggravate Vata Aggravate Pitta Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y Y* Y Y Aggravate Vata Aggravate Pitta Y Y No Y Y Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 7
  7. 7. Do you chew your food well? Do you only drink milk with grains or foods having the sweet taste and AVOID taking milk with raw fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, sour food and eggs? Do you avoid leftovers that have been placed in the refrigerator? Do you avoid frozen and processed food? Do you mainly eat fresh food that's freshly prepared? Do you drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices? Do you avoid food that has honey cooked in it? Do you eat mainly organic foods? Do you AVOID using a microwave? Do you AVOID skipping meals and going hungry for long periods of time? Do you AVOID suppressing natural urges like bowel movements and urination? Are you mainly vegetarian? (avoid red meat, fowl, fish and eggs) If you are vegetarian do you have plenty of dairy products in your diet? Do you avoid caffeine beverages like coffee and soft drinks? Do you avoid the regular use of laxatives? Do you avoid candy and processed snacks? Do you AVOID having lunches of salad only? Y Y Y Y* Y* Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y 8
  8. 8. Do you AVOID carbonated beverages? Do you drink 3-4 glasses of room temperature or warm water throughout the day? Do you usually AVOID eating cold foods? Do you mainly use olive oil, as your cooking oil? Do you AVOID cooking oils at high heat? Do you AVOID cooking with aluminum pans? Do you eat out at restaurants less than twice a week? Exercise Yes Do you take an early morning walk? Do you walk daily for at least one-half hour? Do you have three or more periods a week with an hour or more of exercise more strenuous than walking? Do you STOP exercising before you start to feel exhausted and sweat heavily? Orientation to the Yes Environment Is the main entrance to your house facing the North or East direction. Is the main entrance to your office facing the North or East direction. Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y No Aggravate Vata Y Aggravate Pitta Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y Y Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y No Aggravate Vata Aggravate Pitta 9
  9. 9. Does the top of your head face East or South when you sleep? (imagine an arrow pointing from your toes to the top of your head to determine this direction) Do you face East or North when you sit at your desk for work? Social & Environmental Issues Can you AVOID working night shifts? Can you AVOID working all day in front of a computer? Can you AVOID working in an environment with toxic chemicals? Does the space you work in have windows that can be opened? Ladies Only Are you able to be more restful on the days of your menstrual period? Do you eat lighter foods (more cooked vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes and less meat, cheese, sugar and cold drinks) during the days of menstrual flow? Yes No Aggravate Vata Y* Aggravate Pitta Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y Y Yes No Aggravate Vata Aggravate Pitta Aggravate Kapha Aggravate Ama Y Y 10
  10. 10. Following is a chart that sequentially describes an ideal daily routine from morning through evening. This chart is a reference to what an ideal routine of life would be. If your life if far from the ideal, don't despair! Small changes in the right direction can make a world of difference. Your responsibilities may not allow you to adopt many of these habits at this time, but even one or two can be very helpful. Lifestyle changes take time but the most important thing is to take the first step. Pick the areas that you feel are most do-able or most important to your health and start there. A balanced routine and the increased vitality it imparts are an elixir of life. Feeling better day-by will be your continual motivator as you move toward a healthier lifestyle. Ideal Daily Routine Description To Bed by 10:00 PM. The Day Starts the Evening Before! Morning Arise before 6 AM Evacuate bowels and bladder Clean teeth, scrape tongue Abhyanga (Appendix 1) Bath or shower Sun salutations and/or asanas and pranayama Meditation Exercise Wear clean, comfortable, natural fabric clothing Light breakfast followed by morning work or study Afternoon Warm cooked lunch with all six tastes Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk Afternoon work or study Sun salutations and/or asanas and Pranayama Meditation Evening Early, light evening meal Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk Pleasant, relaxing activity To bed before 10 PM with natural fabric clothing and bedding Daily Proper diet and eating behavior Take Maharishi Amrit Kalash Rasayanas AM & PM Seasonal Diet and exercise according to season Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM consultation Maharishi RejuvenationSM therapy 11
  11. 11. Doshas and times of day Pitta 10:00 -2:00 AM &PM Heightened digestive strength at day and metabolic cleansing at night Day: Night: Largest meal around 12:30PM Sleep by 10:00 PM for metabolic cleansing of impurities Kapha Vata 6:00 - 10:00 AM &PM 2:00 -6:00 AM &PM Tendency for physical heaviness and mental slowness Tendency for mental alertness AM&PM but possibly tiredness by afternoon Morning: Be awake before Kapha time, Exercise, Breakfast Evening: Meal, walk, pleasant non-stimulating activity, bed Morning: Afternoon: Awake, Meditation Meditation 12
  12. 12. Sequence of Daily Routine The day starts the night before Every organism in nature has a rest cycle. During rest, the energy and attention of the organism is freed from outer activity and can focus on internal balancing and healing. Making the most of this healing time is the foundation of good health. If this regeneration period is disturbed, imbalance and eventually sickness result. According to Ayurveda, when you start your eight hours of sleep makes a difference. Sleep research shows that those who work the night shift and sleep during the day are more prone to a number of health disorders, including insomnia, digestive problems, heart attacks and breast cancer. But even lesser diversion from the usual human sleep pattern can make a difference. Have you ever noticed how you feel extra sluggish the day after a late night and sleeping in, even though you got your usual number of hours of sleep? It also can work in your favor. An NIH study once found that many depressed individuals can achieve a remission from their symptoms simply by shifting their bedtime and getting up times forward, for example, going to bed by 8:30 PM and getting up by 3:30 or 4 AM. Ayurveda states that the start of the activity affects the nature of the rest of the activity, according to the expression "well begun is half done." Accordingly, Ayurveda predicts the greatest benefits from sleep that starts in the time when the body is dominated by the qualities of Kapha dosha, between 6 and10 PM. Kapha is the heavy, grounding, inert principle in nature. Going to sleep in Kapha time supports easily falling asleep and having a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep throughout the night. Also, if we are in bed by 10:00 PM we will be sleeping during Pitta time (10:00 PM–2:00AM,) when the body is in its active "Pitta mode" of metabolism, cleansing the blood and skin of toxins and impurities. If awake, that metabolic activity provokes hunger and the proverbial "midnight snack." Unfortunately, this habit interferes with the body's cleansing cycle and also tends to pack on weight. Reading, watching TV, working on the computer and other wakeful activities after 10 PM also put stress on the eyes and nervous system, using energy that would otherwise go for rejuvenation and accelerating the aging process. For the most rejuvenating beauty sleep, get your 8 hours starting before 10 PM. You'll not only feel more fresh and energetic, but you'll see the difference in your face in the morning. *Note: A full discussion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha will be provided in Chapter 3. When we go to bed by 10:00 PM we have the greatest chance of awakening early and having the necessary time to do the rest of our full daily routine. This is why the day starts the evening before and proper bedtime is the foundation for the next day’s activity. Other important ways to support good sleep are: 1) Do not engage in activities that activate the mind or body in the hour before going to bed. i.e. watching TV, reading or vigorous exercise. 2) Use natural fabric like wool and cotton for your sleeping garments and bedding. These fabrics breathe and create the proper environment for your physiology both during sleep and in activity. 3) Go to sleep about the same time each evening. Regularity of routine is important to balance Vata and imbalanced Vata is the source of insomnia for most people 13
  13. 13. 4) Only use your bedroom for sleeping. To promote the most conducive environment for rest, do not watch TV, work or exercise in your bedroom 5) Take a walk in the evening after dinner. A walk in the settled atmosphere of Kapha time, between 6-10 PM, allows the body and mind to deeply absorb the gentle, peaceful and relaxed Kapha influence, promoting a deep and uninterrupted sleep. Morning Routine Awake before 6 AM It is recommended to awaken before 6 A.M. Since we do not want to strain or use alarm clocks to do this, going to bed before 10 PM is usually necessary so that the body is fully rested and ready to go by 6 AM. The period before 6 AM is the time when all of nature is awakening and Vata dosha is most enlivened in the environment. Vata controls the nervous system and our level of alertness. Remember the principle of "well begun is half done?" If we start our day in Vata time our mind will experience more of the qualities of balanced Vata throughout the day – increased energy, clarity, intelligence and alertness. On the other hand, if we sleep past 6 AM, we are sleeping into the Kapha time of day. For example, sleeping until 7:30 involves 1 1/2 hours of sleep during Kapha time, imbibing the body with the qualities of excess Kapha – dullness, heaviness and lethargy. Not exactly how we want to feel at the start of the day and exactly why so many people don't feel they can function until they've had their expresso! Sleep after 6 AM day after day, year after year and a Kapha imbalance can build up, causing symptoms such as sinus congestion, fluid retention, weight gain, headaches, joint aches and stiffness, and (perhaps worst of all) bags under the eyes! Elimination It is beneficial to have elimination in the morning. To help evacuate the bowels and bladder and create a cleansing influence in the physiology drink a glass of fresh, warm or room temperature water upon awakening. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a half teaspoon of raw honey to kick start your digestion and metabolism for the day. Cleansing the mouth and teeth In addition to brushing the teeth it is recommended to cleanse the tongue. This can be done by brushing the tongue with your toothbrush or ideally using a stainless steel or silver tongue scraper to scrape any white film or coating off the tongue. A coating on the tongue in the morning is a sign that your body is not fully eliminating toxins and impurities. Scraping the tongue not only freshens the mouth and breath, but stimulates the digestion and metabolism of residual wastes in the body, according to Ayurveda. Ayurvedic herbalized oil massage: Abhyanga Daily morning Ayurvedic oil massage is one of the most powerful rejuvenation regimens one can add to their daily routine. The motion and pressure of the massage create heat and friction and help to loosen up impurities, improve circulation and enliven the body. The quality of the oil is also important as it is being massaged into the entire surface area of the body and is being absorbed. The proper oils and herbs create a cleansing and nourishing influence throughout the body and help keep the skin youthful and supple. 14
  14. 14. Ayurvedic oil massage is especially good at removing Vata imbalance, the usual cause of weakness, anxiety and fatigue. Most people report feeling much stronger, emotionally smooth and balanced throughout the day as a result of their morning abhyanga. *See appendix 1 for a full discussion of how to do abhyanga and what massage oil to use. Asanas and/or sun salutations After the bath or shower it is highly recommended to go through a three part sequence of practicing yoga asanas, pranayama (yogic breathing technique) and meditation (I highly recommend the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique). Although each of these practices are valuable alone, when used in this sequence each step prepares you to gain even greater effects from the following ones. Asanas and sun salutations help remove stiffness and heaviness in the body and are an aid in increasing circulation and flexibility. Improving flexibility removes surface fatigue and stress and helps reconnect the physiology with its inner intelligence. Wherever there is stiffness or hardness in the body it indicates that part of the body is losing contact with circulation and the nervous system. When this happens the fertile ground for disease has been created in the affected tissues. Maintaining a high level of flexibility in the body through asanas and sun salutations is a vital pillar of good health. Yoga asanas postures are also excellent for this but should be learned from qualified instructors for proper technique and the correct sequence of postures. Maharishi Vedic Schools and Maharishi Vedic Medical Centers can be found in many major cities and teach excellent courses in Yoga asanas. Call 1-888-Learn-TM or connect to www.tm.org for the center nearest you. Pranayama (Ayurvedic breathing exercises) Pranayama is practiced after asanas or sun salutations. Pranayama further purifies and refines the functioning of the body and also helps remove dullness and fatigue. The best source of pranayama instruction is through Maharishi Vedic Schools and Maharishi Vedic Medical Centers. Qualified instructors of the TM technique can also instruct you in the proper practice of pranayama after TM instruction. Asanas and pranayama sequentially remove surface fatigue and tension thereby preparing the mind and body to gain the most from the meditation period. Eyes closed meditation (ideally the TM technique) I respect the fact that many individuals are already practicing some type of meditation daily, enjoy their technique and benefiting from it. However, I do highly recommend the TM program and encourage everyone to hear an introductory lecture on the TM technique so they gain the information that would allow them to make the most informed choice for their personal meditation practice. Maharishi Ayurveda describes the twice-daily practice of the TM technique as the single most powerful healing recommendation available. The benefits of the TM technique have been scientifically validated in over 600 published research studies in a variety of medical and scientific journals including the American Journal of Cardiology, the American Heart Association's Stroke, and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. During the 20 minute TM practice the body experiences a state of deep rest characterized by more orderly brain functioning and increased mental awareness. Regular TM practice helps the body throw off deep stress and fatigue, improves mental functioning and is an ideal preparation for the activity of the day. The 15
  15. 15. TM technique is also an authentic, Vedic technique for the development of higher states of consciousness and the full health potential of the physiology. For more information on the TM technique, please check out the TM web site at http://www.tm.org/or call 1-888-Learn-TM to be connected to the center closest to you. Exercise Exercise helps cleanse the body, improves circulation and increases mind-body coordination. Exercise is recommended daily in the morning when the sun is rising and the air is cool and fresh. We encourage people not to exercise to the point of exhaustion as the effect can be to create stress and strain and thereby be more damaging than helpful. *See appendix 2 for more detailed information on the Ayurvedic approach to exercise. Natural fabric clothing Maharishi Ayur-Veda recommends natural fabric clothing as the most suitable attire for the health of the body. Natural fabrics breathe and do not disturb the subtle energy fields of the physiology. Cotton, wool, silk and rayon are the preferred fabrics. It is strongly recommend that people do not wear polyester clothes of any kind. Breakfast Digestion is not as strong at breakfast compared to lunch so food should be lighter and easier to digest in the morning. Stewed apples, raisins that have been stewed or soaked overnight, ripe sweet juicy fruits, hot milk, medjool dates and mixed grains cooked in water are examples of items that are nourishing and appropriate for most people at breakfast. It is best to avoid meats, eggs and cheese at breakfast. Please follow the advice of your medical doctor regarding any changes in your diet. Afternoon Routine Lunch Digestion is strongest during the middle of the day when we are most active and the heat element in nature, the sun, is strongest. This enlivens the heat element within our bodies, Pitta, which is responsible for digestion and metabolism. Therefore, the largest meal of the day should be lunch, taken between 12:00 noon and 1:30 PM, when digestion is strongest. Because lunch is the main meal of the day we should put the most attention and planning into it. Ideally, lunch should be a warm, cooked meal with all six tastes. Warm or room temperature liquids should be sipped with the meal to aid secretion of digestive juices and absorption of food. Avoid cold drinks and ice water during meals as they greatly depress digestion. Lunch should be eaten in a comfortable environment while sitting down. Since it is the most important meal of the day we should try to have at least one-half hour for lunch. At the end of the meal we should continue to sit for at least ten minutes to let the digestion get off to a good start. Many people have made great strides in improving their digestion, and how they feel in the afternoon, by adding this 10 minute rest period to the end of lunch. This rest period is appropriate not just at lunch but anytime we eat. We should always try to sit for at least 5-10 minutes before we get up from the table. After this rest period it is recommended to walk at least 3-5 minutes before returning to our afternoon activities. 16
  16. 16. Asanas, pranayama and meditation After the work of the day, but some time before the evening meal, it is again recommended to go through the three-part sequence of asanas, pranayama, and meditation. In order to accomplish this and start dinner before 6:30 it is ideal to be able to end work by 5:00 PM By investing in this after-work rejuvenation period to remove accumulated stress, to develop consciousness and to increase mind-body coordination, we have a much better chance to grow healthier day by day instead of becoming more tired and imbalanced as time goes on. Evening Routine Dinner During the evening digestion is not as strong. Additionally, soon we will be lying down to sleep which will slow digestion and circulation even more. For this reason it is better to eat a smaller quantity of food and less heavy, hard to digest foods at night. Most people should avoid heavy meats, cheeses, desserts and yogurt in the evening. One of the main reasons people develop a buildup of toxins and heaviness in the body is that they eat large evening meals, which they cannot fully digest, and then lie dormant in sleep for many hours. Avoiding large meals in the evening is one of the most important practices for maintaining good health and normalizing weight. If you are over 40 and overweight, light evening meals may be the single most crucial recommendation for getting your weight under control! Since digestion is stronger in the early evening it is better to have dinner between 5:30 and 7:00 rather than later. The later we eat the less we should eat. If we eat later we should have light, easy to digest foods like soups and we should avoid heavy foods. Again sitting at the table for 5-10 minutes and then taking a walk (at least 100 steps, according to the ancient texts!) is recommended after eating the evening meal. Relaxing activity Pleasant relaxing activity is ideal for the evening. Strenuous or exciting mental and/or physical activity in the evening could make it more difficult to fall asleep. Since Kapha, the heavy, dull element is strongest in nature between 6:00 and 10:00 PM an evening walk is recommended. Not only does this aid digestion, it also allows the mind and body to absorb the deeply restful qualities of Kapha that are enlivened outdoors. This will help promote a good night's sleep. To sleep before 10 PM To gain maximum rejuvenation from sleep it is recommended to go to bed before 10:00 PM. Remember, the day starts the evening before with the quality and quantity of sleep we get. 17
  17. 17. Additional Daily Routine Recommendations Drinking warm or room temperature water throughout the day Most everyone can benefit from drinking water frequently throughout the day. This provides a daily cleansing of the digestive tract. It also keeps the channels of circulation open and helps the body eliminate impurities. The water should not be cold, rather room temperature or warmer. The most cleansing water is hot water that was boiled for 10 minutes before placing in a thermos. Be sure to take the extra time for this if you are trying to lose weight or have digestive problems. Maharishi Amrit Kalash® Rasayana Rasayanas are Ayurvedic herbal preparations that have general, overall balancing and nourishing effects for people of all constitutions. Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) is the premier rasayana in Maharishi Ayurveda, and consists of two formulas, "Ambrosia" and "Nectar." Scientific research has found the MAK formulas to be exceptionally high in antioxidant, free radical scavenging activity, with 1000 times the effects of vitamins C or E (Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 1992, Vol 43, pp1175-1182.) The MAK rasayanas are usually taken twice a day, morning and evening. Maharishi Amrit Kalash is in my experience the single most powerful Ayurvedic herbal preparation available today. It can be used by virtually all body types and constitutions. If you wish to take an Ayurvedic herbal formula, I would recommend MAK as the foundation of your herbal program. (Note: please be sure to check with your health care provider before starting any herbal supplements.) Maharishi Amrit Kalash is available through Maharishi Ayurveda Products International at 1-800-All-Veda. Ayurvedic Seasonal Routines Diet and the Seasons 1. Pitta Season: Summer Because the hot, warm weather of summer increases Pitta within the body, we should adjust our diet to favor foods that pacify (decrease) Pitta. Eat more cool foods, cool drinks and foods with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Include the fresh, sweet, fruits and vegetables that grow in this season. Take fewer foods with pungent, sour and salty tastes. Eat less of the following foods: yogurt, cheese, tomatoes, vinegar and hot spices. (Please note “cool” does not mean cold.) 2. Vata Season: Winter The cold, dry weather of winter increases Vata and we should follow a more Vata pacifying diet at this time. Favor warm food and drinks, heavier foods and more unctuous (oily) foods. Eat more of the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Avoid dry and cold foods and cold drinks. Eat fewer foods with pungent, bitter or astringent tastes. 18
  18. 18. 3. Kapha Season: Spring The cold, wet weather of spring increases Kapha, therefore we should follow a more Kapha balancing diet. Favor a diet that is lighter and less unctuous (oily). Favor warm foods and drinks. Eat more foods with the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and fewer foods with the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Exercise and the Seasons Since exercise is most appropriate at Kapha periods more exercise is recommended in spring. In summer it is important not to become overheated. Therefore less exercise, and exercise taken at cooler times of the day in early morning, is recommended. To keep Pitta in balance it is important not to overexert in the hot sun. Seasonal MAHARISHI REJUVENATION Therapy After the body has been functioning for 4 months in the specific climatic conditions of any of the seasons it builds up the toxins and impurities that come from functioning in that climate. One of the main reasons people fall sick at the change of seasons is due to this accumulation of impurities from the past season and the body having the extra challenge of adjusting to a new climate. Maharishi Vedic Medicine recommends cleansing the body of accumulated toxins and blockages at the change of seasons through Maharishi Rejuvenation Therapy, the revival of the authentic practice of the "Panchakarma" treatments of Ayurveda. *See appendix 4 for a discussion of the panchakarma program at The Raj, the oldest and largest in-residence panchakarma center in North America. 19
  19. 19. Chapter 2 Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need. — ancient Ayurvedic proverb A. Fundamentals of Healthy Eating Behavior How we digest and assimilate our food is just as important as what we eat. If digestion is disturbed, even the best diet will not provide proper nutrition. The following points include a variety of recommendations to aid in the most complete digestion of food. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Eat according to your hunger level. Avoid eating when not hungry and do not delay eating when hungry. Eat at approximately the same time every day. Don't eat too quickly or too slowly. Do not overeat. Eat to about 3/4 capacity. Do not leave the table very hungry or very full. Allow 3 – 6 hours between meals. Do not eat before the previous meal is properly digested. Eat a balanced meal with all six tastes. (see chapter 3) Eat sitting down and in a settled environment. Do not read, watch TV or drive while eating. Sip warm or room temperature liquids during the meal. This enlivens digestion and helps the food be better dissolved and absorbed. Do not take ice cold liquids and foods with a meal as they suppress digestion. Sit comfortably for five to ten minutes after finishing the meal. This allows the digestive process to get well underway. If you immediately jump up from the meal, digestion will be disrupted and the food will be improperly processed. Chew the food well. Digestion starts in the mouth. Milk should be taken alone or with other sweet tastes. Milk should not be taken with vegetables, meat, fish, sour foods, salt or eggs. Eat fresh foods freshly prepared. Avoid leftovers. Avoid artificial foods, colors and preservatives. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are recommended as part of your daily diet. Honey should not be heated in any way such as by cooking, baking or by adding it to hot beverages. Ayurvedic theory says that when heated honey is ingested it creates a toxic effect in the body. It can be added to tea or hot milk once the beverage has cooled down to body temperature. Eat organic food whenever possible. Strictly avoid genetically engineered or genetically modified food. Do not use a microwave as it can aggravate Vata in the food. Ayurveda recommends a vegetarian diet as ideal but if you have been eating meat for many years the transition should be made gradually with great attention placed on having a balanced diet and enough milk products to get the proper amount of vitamin B12. For the best health it is good to AVOID the following a) avoid snacks containing refined sugar. Have sweet juicy fruits, dried fruits, hot milk alone or with spices, dates, nuts and other wholesome foods instead. 20
  20. 20. b) avoid lunches of only raw salad. Raw vegetables are not a balanced diet at lunch, the most important meal of the day. Raw vegetables are too Vata aggravating to be eaten as the only item on the menu at lunch. c) avoid carbonated beverages. They aggravate Vata being filled with air and destroy the foundation of "ojas", the chemical that contributes most to the immunity and vigor of the body. d) avoid cold foods. Cold food depresses digestion and clogs the physiology. e) avoid caffeine. Caffeine is very aggravating to Vata and Pitta and can significantly imbalance the physiology with overuse. Major principles of Ayurvedic Diet and Food Preparation a) Eat fresh food freshly prepared. b) Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods c) Cook foods more slowly on lower heat to take them through all the proper transformations of cooking. Basic Qualities of Foods a) Avoid frozen, processed foods. b) Use organic food. Avoid genetically engineered food. c) Use ripe foods. Avoid unripe fruits. e) Avoid leftovers. Don’t eat leftovers out of the refrigerator as they are hard to digest and clogging to the physiology C. Use of Spices in Food Preparation There are two factors involved in proper nourishment. The first is to start with the proper food (organic, whole foods freshly prepared) and the second is to help Agni (the digestion, metabolism and tissue development processes) be maximally strong. Spices are the key to the second factor- transforming food into healthy tissue. For this reason the heavier foods you eat the more necessary it is to have proper spicing. Diets high in nutrition dense foods (fats, sweets, meat, desserts) require spicing or they will quickly lead to excess heaviness and clogging of the physiology. How to Buy, Store and Prepare Spices Because may of the active ingredients in spices are aromatic it is important to buy whole seeds rather than ground powders. When spices are ground in the factory they loose a lot of the aromatic compounds and continue to loose more as time goes by. Storing the spices in tightly closed glass containers helps the seeds maintain their potency. Seeds can be turned into powders right at the cooking time by places combinations in a spice grinder. Spices also need help from heat to bring out their best qualities. Spices should be sautéed in oil or dry fried (placed in a frying pan that has no oil in it) before use. Normally you should add the seeds first to sautéing and then add the powders. Don't turn your back on the sautéing process as spices can burn easily. 21
  21. 21. Properties of Specific Spices A. Salt Salt is one of the 6 basic tastes and some salt is needed in the diet. Ayurveda has very specific recommendations regarding the ideal way to incorporate salt into food. Salt should be cooked into the watery portion of dishes. This is better than sprinkling it on at the table or sauteeing it with spices. Instead add it to soups while they are cooking or on top of vegetables while they are cooking. Our bodies need many minerals besides sodium and chloride so use natural rock and sea salts whenever possible. Black salt has sulfur in it crating an unusual taste but it has a powerful stimulating effect on digestion. B. Pepper Pepper is part of the fascinating story of the relationship between spices, oils and brain physiology. Pepper helps carry nutrition across the blood brain barrier. Since the brain is over 50% fat it is nourished most by high quality oils. Sauteeing fresh ground pepper into organic extra virgin olive oil or ghee is recommended for rain nourishment. Pepper is very stimulating to digestion and the cleansing aspects of metabolism. However, pepper is quite heating and potentially Pitta aggravating in nature and must be used sparingly with attention paid toward your personal experience with it. C. Fresh, Green Herbs Fresh green herbs, often though of as the Italian spices, have wonderful taste and excellent physiological properties but most are quite heat sensitive and should be added toward end of the cooking process. I recommend to always purchase the fresh green leaves from the produce section of grocery stores rather than using the dry spices in bottles in the spice section. 1) Basil, has a purifying, holistic and uplifting influence (called "sattvic" in Vedic terms) on the mind. It also has an influence on immunity and cleansing of the chest area. If a person has chronic cough and cold the fresh leaves may be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea throughout the day. 2) Cilantro is the leaf of the plant that gives us coriander seed. It is very heat sensitive so traditionally chopped cilantro is added to dahl soups when they are taken off the heat at the end of the cooking process. D. Sweet Spices Sweet foods like desserts are high in nutritional content but are so carbohydrate dense that they need help from spices to cut the heaviness and strengthen the bodies digestion and assimilation. The "sweet" spices not only make our desserts taste wonderful but have an important physiological effect as well. 1) Cardomon is mostly used with milk products (lassi, solid indian milk desserts like barfy and hot milk) to reduce the mucous effect and help digestion. 22
  22. 22. 2) Clove is especially effective at helping the Agni (fire of digestion and metabolism) get going at the beginning of the day. I often recommend that people have some stewed fruit at breakfast cooked with several cloves. The cloves enliven Agni over 3-5 hours and help digestion and metabolism be strong by lunch, which should be the heaviest meal of the day. 3) Cinnamon is prized for its ability as a transporter of nutrition to the tissues. It helps the body assimilate the building blocks of nutrition found in rich foods. 4) Saffron also helps build up the physiology. It strengthens all the tissues and has a particularly powerful effect on reproductive tissue and has been used to enhance fertility When saffron is added to a rice pudding with its milk, rice, raisins, cashews and sugar a powerful nourishing food for people with thin and wasting conditions is created. E. Indian Spices The traditional "Indian" spices are best known for their ability to increase digestion and metabolism. They are mostly pungent and have the ability to decrease Kapha (heaviness) and increase Pitta. 1) Ginger is the most favored of all Ayurvedic appetizers. It has a powerful effect on digestion but is not as heating as other pungent spices though you could still overdo it. Buy fresh ginger in the produce section (not the powdered ginger in bottles), cut it up and sautee it in oil. It is the most heat resistant of the spices we have mentioned so it can be added first to the sauteeing process. 2) Cumin is the other main Indian spice used to strengthen digestion. Dry fry cumin seeds or sautee the seed or powder for best effect. 3) Hing or asofoetida is an excellent appetizer but needs to be used in small quantities due to its powerful odor. Hing is often used as a substitute for onions and garlic in recipes. This is because onions and garlic have a dulling effect on the mind and consciousness. Often people involved in Ayurveda are also practicing meditation and consciousness development techniques and will have better experiences if they leave onions and garlic out of their diet. 4) Coriander is the most cooling of all the spices that have a significant effect on enlievining digestion and is a good spice for people high in Pitta. 5) Fennel has a good effect on preventing, indigestion and gas. It strengthens apana, the force that controls the downward flow of food through the digestive tract and is also a good spice to help elimination 6) Fenugreek as a powerful effect on fat, sugar and carbohydrate metabolism and is often used by people dealing with weight issues. 7) Turmeric is a very special spice as it is anti oxidant in its effect and helps cleanse all the tissues. It is also astringent and has a drying effect on mucous membranes and can be used by people suffering from colds and excess Kapha. 23
  23. 23. Properties and Cooking Recommendations for the Major Food Groups A. Grains Grains are famous for being the staff of life. They are rich in carbohydrates, protein and even high quality oils. To get the most from this food group be sure to have a wide variety of grains in your diet. Don't just stick with rice and wheat but include highly nutritious grains like amaranth, cous-cous, bulgar wheat, quinoa, millet and barley. Mixed grain dishes are especially nutritious and are good at breakfast and lunch. The risen, loaves of bread that are so popular in the West have a slightly clogging effect on the physiology so if you have excess heaviness, slow digestion or elimination it is best to have less of these breads. Instead favor the flat breads like chapatis. Of course the more refined and processed the grains are the more likely they will also have this clogging effect, less roughage and also be less nutritious. Grains are slightly drying in their effect and should be cooked with some oil. Barley has quite an anti-kapha (heaviness and tissue buildup) effect in the body and is the best grain for individuals interested in weight loss. B. Oils and Spices The most important of all food groups to get right in your diet are oils. Cardiovascular disease is the number one disease in America and the incidence of overweight people in our society, including children, is a major current topic for both the press and our legislators. A major contributing factor in both overweight and cardiovascular disease is the improper digestion and metabolism of oil in our diet. Making the plot even more confusing is the fact that modern science is also increasingly becoming aware of the good qualities of oil for our health, a fact Ayurveda has espoused for thousands of years. The brain is over 50% fat and needs oils to be properly nourished. Studies are ongoing as to the positive effects of alpha omega 3 oils in reducing the risks of alzheimers and cardiovascular disease. This is a big change in the literature from 10 years ago when fat free diets where being touted as an essential component for health. It seems oils can kill us and they can make us more healthy. Which effect oils have depends on what oils we use and how we prepare those oils in our cooking process. Maharishi Ayurveda provides the theoretical knowledge of how to include oils in the diet and yet not have them turn into excessive fat and cardiovascular degeneration. There are two things we have to get right to have oils nourish us rather than hurt us. First we must start with the right oils. Second we must cook the oils in a way that helps the body process these heavy and concentrated foods. According to Ayurveda the best oils to include in the diet are: 1) Ghee Ghee or "clarified butter" is made by bringing butter to a slow boil for 45-60 minutes and scooping the precipitated milk solids off the top. In Ayurveda the nervous system tissue is called 24
  24. 24. "majja" and the food that nourishes majja best of all is ghee. However if you do have high cholesterol or are overweight it is better to have olive oil be the main oil in your diet. 2) Olive oil It is important to try to use extra virgin olive oil if possible. Extra virgin means there has only been one pressing of the oil, virgin means there has been two pressings and if it doesn't say extra virgin of virgin it could have been processed even more heavily. 3) Sesame oil While nowhere near as essential as ghee and olive oil sesame oil has many beneficial effects. It is very Vata pacifying so one recommendation is to have it be the oil used in the evening meal where we want to settle the nervous system in preparation for sleep. However, sesame oil is quite hot and potentially Pitta aggravating in its influence and should be used sparingly if you have an unpleasant heating reaction to it. Another major consideration in "what" oils we use is that it is very important to use organic oils. Many pesticides are fat soluble and concentrate in the oils of the plants they are placed on. This is especially an issue if you use corn or soybean oil (which we do not recommend anyway) as these crops often have heavy pesticide use. I also highly recommend using only organic oils because if the label does not say organic then the seeds from which the plants come could have been genetically engineered. The current custodians of Ayurveda, with their deep belief in the wisdom of nature and natural process, are deeply concerned that genetically engineered foods could have many powerful, unhealthy side effects if ingested in large quantities over years. In the natural world it is not allowed to mix the genetic material of different species yet that is a common practice in genetically engineered foods. However, it is not enough to use only proper and pure oils in our diet. Oils also need to be refined and transformed by the cooking process if they are to end up having a healthy effect in our body. Ayurveda has two main recommendations here. 1) Cooks oils more slowly over lower heats. Excessive heat can break the molecular bonds in oils turning them from slender molecules that slip through tiny pores in our cells to large "tinker toy" like molecules that get stuck in pores and clog the body. Heat also can bend and twist the backbone of oil molecules again increasing their clogging properties. If your snowpeas explode when you drop them in your Wok then your oil is definitely too hot. This is especially an issue with olive oil which is very heat sensitive. Olive oil should be cooked slowly over lower heats. This is also why it is so important to get one time pressed, extra virgin olive oil, as each pressing increases the amount of heat the oil has been subjected to increasingly disrupting its natural molecular geometry. 2) Sautee spices into oils. It is our strength of Agni, the fire of digestion and metabolism, that determines whether even good oils end up as fat or healthy tissues in our bodies. Sauteeing spices into the oil is the main Ayurvedic technique to have Agni enhanced so the body properly processes the oil. Ayurveda is clear that even good oils will be turned into fat and blockage in the body without proper spices being cooked into the oils. 25
  25. 25. Ayurveda provides several recommendations to get the most taste and health benefit from our spices. 1) Start with whole seeds instead of ground powders. Most spices are aromatic in nature and much of their potency and taste is lost when they are ground into powders causing their aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. Buy organic spice seeds, store them in tight glass containers and grind them in a spice grinder right before use. 2) Spices need to be heated to bring out their properties Spices can be placed directly in a frying pan and dry fried. However, the most potent way to enliven the spices through heat is to sautee them in oil. Sauteeing spices in oil not only helps the Agni of the body properly digest and metabolize the oil but it also can help the oil be carried across the blood brain barrier where it can nourish the brain tissue. Black pepper is especially helpful in carrying nutrition across the blood brain barrier. Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians) have talked about how alzheimers, parkinsons, dementia and other neurological disorders seen in Westerners in old age are due to "dry brain". As we become older, Vata increases in the body causing it to lose its lubrication and dry up inside. This can be especially devastating to majja, nervous system tissue, which is mainly composed of oils. Ayurveda holds that when majja loses its nourishment from oils the result can be neurological problems in later life. The Vaidyas report there is much less incidence of neurological disorders during old age in cultures where the traditional diet includes many spices sauteed in oils. The classic way to include sauteed oils and spices in dishes are to: 1. sautee oils and spices then add them to your soups and dahls as they are cooking. 2. sautee oils and spices then add chopped up vegetables, tofu or other high protein source. Oil friendly Spices Following are some spices and the main properties they have in helping oils be nourishing and not unhealthy in their effect. 1) Strengthen Agni of digestion and metabolism fresh ginger root, cumin, black pepper, asofoetida, coriander, fenegreek 2) "Sweet" spices that are added to carbohydrate dense foods like desserts. Excess sugars and carbohydrates are turned into fat deposits in the body. To prevent unhealthy fat accumulation Ayurveda recommends fenegreek, cardomom (use especially with milk products), clove, cinnamon and saffron be used with nutrition dense dishes. 3) Turmeric cleanses all the tissues Turmeric has a powerful cleansing effect on all the tissues and is an important spice to include in your diet. However it should not be sauteed with oil but rather added the watery portion of the cooking process. Add turmeric to soups or vegetables during the middle of their cooking process. In summary, oils can be a great friend or enemy of our health. Ayurvedic theory helps provide the knowledge of how to extract the maximum health benefit from this essential food group. C. Milk Milk, like the oils have exceptionally positive health qualities and also can create many health problems if used inappropriately. The main thing that has to be taken into consideration is that 26
  26. 26. milk products are very heavy, clogging and mucous creating in many forms. Following are the three best forms of milk products 1. Boil milk, add spices like cardomon, ginger or turmeric and drink while still hot. Cold milk is very hard to digest for almost everyone. Milk needs to be boiled and drunk while still warm to help overcome its heavy and mucous forming properties. Adding spices that cut the heaviness of milk like turmeric, ginger and cardomon help even more. 2. Freshly prepared yogurt made into a lassi and drunk at lunch. Yogurt becomes increasingly heavy, clogging and acidic over time. Ayurveda recommends that ideally yogurt should be consumed within 24 hours of it being made. It is also too heavy to be eaten at breakfast or dinner when digestion is less strong. The last part of the recommendation is to dilute the yougurt with 3 to 4 parts water, add spices and turn it into a lassi. 3. Panir is the most pure, easily digested and nutritious of the cheese family. It is easily made by bringing a large pot of milk to a boil and adding enough fresh lemon juice and/or yogurt to make the milk solids curdle. When you have large, white clumps of milk solids floating in a clear yellow liquid your cooking is finishes. Pour the mixture into a sieve and take the milk solids and press them slightly until the water is mostly out. Panir still needs to be cooked before eating and is wonderful in soups and vegetable dishes. Just cut your panir into cubes and sautee it in oil and spices, then add to your dish. Avoid or Reduce: Yogurt, cold milk, hard yellow cheeses and ice cream are some of the most clogging and hard to digest of all foods and should be avoided. D. Vegetables Vegetables are very important for their vitamins, minerals, roughage and freshness. I especially recommend including plenty of leafy, green vegetables in your diet. Most people should have less of the root vegetables (potatoes) as they are heavier and harder to digest. Root vegetables need more spicing due to their heaviness. Salads are good as a minor part of our meals but I do not recommend having whole meals of just raw salad especially at lunch. Raw, cold vegetables are very Vata aggravating and do not provide the variety we should be having at the largest meal of the day. The best cooking methods for vegetables are: 1) Sautee spices in olive oil or ghee and then add cut vegetables and continue to sautee 2) Roast vegetables by stirring larger chunks of high water content vegetables (squash, zuccini, fennel) with a mixture of oil, herbs and spices. Then place this pan in the oven and bake until done 3) Grill vegetables by mixing vegetables with oil, spices and herbs and then placing on the grill 4) Steaming is a very pure way of preparing vegetables but the process drains significant amount of vitamins, minerals and taste out of the vegetables before it is finished. E. Fruits Fresh, juicy fruits like grapes, pears, melons, plums are an excellent addition to almost everyone's diet. Be sure the fruits you eat are ripe as unripe fruit can be acidic in nature. Following are some common fruits and specific characteristics important to take into account. Banana: Slightly hard to digest and an acidic after effect in digestion. Pears: Especially good for emotional stability, balancing anger and excessively hot emotions 27
  27. 27. Apples: Best when stewed with some clove and had at breakfast. Slightly hard to digest and Vata aggravating when eaten raw. Melons: Especially good in summer to cool down Pitta Raisins: Best to soak them overnight before eating. F. Legumes, Dahl and Tofu Good legume soups are missing from most people's diets in the West but they are very essential to a balanced diet. With grains legumes can form a complete protein and they are the main source of the astringent taste. Because legumes can be hard to digest it is important to eat them with proper spicing. Sautee spices like fresh ginger root, cumin, coriander, turmeric and ground black pepper in ghee or olive oil and add them to the dahl toward the end of the cooking process. Chopped fresh cilantro is taditionally added to dahls after they have finished cooking. Mung dahl is the most balancing of all the dahls. It comes as whole mung dahl which is more nutritious, harder to digest and takes about 45 minutes to cook. Split mung bean dahl is easy to digest and takes about 2-25 minutes to cook. The best strategy is to have a wide variety of dahls in your diet and you can even mix dahl flours with grain flours in your baking. While the classical Ayurvedic texts do not address tofu it is a hard to digest food that needs good spicing. I recommend having tofu no more than 2-3 times a week in the diet. G. Nuts and Seeds Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, carbohydrates, roughage and high quality oils. However, they are often hard to digest and can be Pitta aggravating. It is especially good to soak cashews and almonds before eating as Pitta aggravating qualities are absorbed by the water. It is especially important for vegetarians to have these rich, nutritious foods as part of their diet. F. The Cook and the Kitchen One of the most major themes in Ayurvedic cooking is the powerful effect of the consciousness of the cook on the food. If the cook is unhappy and emotionally disturbed some of that quality gets in the food. Make your kitchen a bright and pleasing space. Try to avoid cooking if you are emotionally distraught if you can. The kitchen is not a pace to have argumentative discussions with your family and friends. The consciousness of the cook is also a major factor when you go out to eat at a restaurant because you have no idea or control over the quality of the cook and their workplace in a restaurant. Avoid the use of aluminum or non stick cookware. Stainless steel is a good alternative as is occasional cooking with iron cookware. Cooking over a flame is considered the best heat. Microwaves are not at all recommended as they create high Vat quality in the food. Food preparation is an art and a joy. Proper diet is also great medicine and the key to a long, vibrant and healthy life. It is key to everyone's life be educated in the knowledge foods and their preparation. Suggestions for Meals 1. a) b) Foods good at Breakfast. (need to be combined properly) Medjool dates Stewed Fruit: apples with raisins or dried fruit, cinnamon stick and whole cloves (discard the cinnamon stick and cloves after cooking) 28
  28. 28. d) e) f) g) Boiled grain cereal or flat bread Hot, spiced milk Avoid cold milk on cereal out of a box. Fresh fruit juice 2. Foods good at Lunch a) boiled grain b) 2-3 vegetables c) spiced dahl d) chapati (flat bread) e) lassi, f) panir, g) chutney h) dessert (cooked fruit tarts, whipped cream) i) sip warm water or tea. 3. Foods good at Dinner Vegetable or dahl soup, boiled grain, green vegetable with proper oil and spices. 29
  29. 29. Key Ayurvedic Recipes The Preparation of Ghee Ghee is clarified butter. According to Maharishi Ayur-Veda it is the best oil for all doshas, because it improves the digestion without aggravating Pitta. Ghee can be used as cooking oil, as a digestive aid, or as a flavoring in place of butter. Under doctors’ recommendation, it is also taken in its melted form as a preparation for Maharishi Ayur-Veda Rejuvenation Treatments at The Raj. 1. Place one or more pounds of unsalted butter in a deep stainless steel or Pyrex type glass pan on medium or medium-low heat. Watch to make sure that the butter doesn’t scorch while melting. 2. Within the next 30 to 40 minutes the water will boil away (approximately 20% of butter is composed of water). Milk solids will appear on the surface of the liquid and also at the bottom of the pan. 3. Be alert to remove the liquid from the heat as soon as milk solids turn golden brown on the bottom of the pan; otherwise the ghee may burn. At this point, you may notice that the ghee smells like popcorn and that tiny bubbles arise from the bottom of the pan. 4. Strain sediment from ghee while hot, by pouring it through a cotton cloth placed over a stainless steel strainer or Pyrex type pan. At this point it is very hot, so you should always be cautious. 5. Ghee can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 months or longer if it is refrigerated. Later if ghee becomes solid due to being cool, just heat it slightly and it will return to liquid. 6. Ghee is usually available at delicatessens, natural food stores, and Indian groceries in your community. 30
  30. 30. Yogurt Purchase a small container of plain yogurt at the grocery to use as “starter.” Milk to use: whole cow’s milk. • Boil milk for 10 minutes with a few slices of fresh ginger. Cool to warm (40 degrees Celsius / 100 degrees Fahrenheit or just slightly warmer than body temperature). • Pour milk into cups of yogurt maker. Add 1/4 teaspoon of yogurt to each cup. DO NOT STIR! Allow automatic process to continue until the next day. Save a small amount of new yogurt to make the next day’s batch. Lassi Yogurt and lassi are not considered the same thing in Maharishi Ayur-Veda. So if yogurt is restricted, you may have lassi. Yogurt or lassi are best taken after lunch or late afternoon rather than evening. Lassi is a yogurt drink, which is considered to be a healthful digestive aid. It is made by diluting yogurt and adding some spices, to taste, for the desired effect. Enjoy this drink at room temperature at the end of your luncheon or as an afternoon treat. Sweet Lassi 3 parts 1 part water (room temperature) yogurt sugar rose water (fresh) cardamom powder Digestive Lassi 3 parts water (room temperature) 1 part yogurt pinch salt to taste* pinches cumin 1/4–1/2 tsp chopped cilantro (the fresh form of coriander) or mint (Digestive lassi is also considered helpful for gas problems) *Black salt in lassi is very effective as a digestive aid. It has a sulfur smell and taste — not everyone enjoys it. However it does provide the best aid to gas and digestive problems. Black salt can be purchased at Indian grocery stores or ordered through The Raj Herbery. Panir Bring milk to a simmering boil in a large pan watched very closely. Add lemon and/or yogurt until the milk congeals and there are clumps of milk solids floating in a clear yellow liquid. Strain the panir from the liquid, let cool and dry. Press panir together and then cut into cubes and sauté before adding to dishes. 31
  31. 31. Chapati The following recipe is good for Vata and Pitta dosha and makes 12 servings: 2 cups unbleached white flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 – 2/3 cup warm water Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water until dough forms a firm ball. Dust with flour. Cover and let set 30 minutes. Cut dough into 12 pieces and form into balls. Roll out balls on a floured surface into 6" circles. Place a chapati in a heated griddle. Cook about 1 minute on each side. Put the chapati directly on a gas burner flame and cook until it puffs up. Mung Dahl Soup Mung dahl soup is easy to prepare and easy to digest. Serve it accompanied with a flatbread or rice and vegetables. Grains and dahl make a complete protein. Always sort, wash and drain mung beans first. Following are the ingredients for a soup that will serve 4 to 6 persons: 1 cup split mung dahl 6 cups water 1 tsp turmeric 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger root 1 tsp salt 2 Tbl ghee/or olive oil 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp mustard seeds 4 Tbl coarsely chopped fresh cilantro 1. Sort, wash and drain the split mung beans. 2. Combine the mung beans, water, and spices in a large pot, except the cumin and mustard seeds. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate. Cook for one hour or until the dahl is soft and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add water as needed to keep dahl to desired consistency. 3. Remove from heat, uncover, whip with a wire whisk until the dahl soup is creamy smooth. 4. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds then fry until the seeds turn brown. Put a small amount of dahl into the cooked spices and mix, then pour into the larger pot. Cover for 1-2 minutes. Mix in turmeric. Serve garnished with cilantro. For variety, vary spices and any vegetables added to the dahl. 32
  32. 32. SALAD This salad adds a delightful freshness to the meal and stimulates the digestive process. Carrots Fresh lemon juice Salt Beets Basil Parsley Fresh ginger root Black pepper • Grate the carrots, beets, and fresh ginger root. Add the parsley and basil and toss together. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of black pepper and salt. • Those with Vata imbalance or weak digestion should only have about 2 tablespoonfuls chewed well. Thermos Flask Lunch The thermos flask lunch is for people who have jobs that do not allow them to have access to well cooked, balanced meals. The thermos flask lunch provides the foundation of a balanced lunch — the most important meal of the day. • 1/4 cup yellow split mung beans • 1/4 cup bhasmati rice • 1-1/2 cups fresh vegetables, cut into small pieces to fit into thermos • 1 Tblsp ghee • 2 cups water • whole or ground spices to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, etc.) Briefly sauté the spices in the ghee (see notes below for more information about cooking spices). Add the mung dahl, rice and chopped vegetables. Cover with the water, and simmer for five minutes only. While still boiling hot, quickly pour the mixture into a one-liter or one-quart thermos (you may need to spoon it in, but don’t let the mixture cool). Close the thermos quickly and leave it closed for about four hours. The meal will cook and be ready to eat after four hours in the thermos. Note: • You may need to experiment with amounts and cooking times to get the best results. The exact amount of cooking time depends on the time lapse between cooking and eating and how well your thermos retains heat. If the time between cooking and eating is 5 to 6 hours, then only two minutes of cooking time may be required. If the time lapse is 2 to 3 hours, then five to ten minutes cooking time may be required. • Since mung dahl and rice swell up substantially, you will need a generous amount of water to get the proper consistency. • Heavier vegetables like carrots and beets need one to two more minutes of cooking with the rice and dahl. Lighter vegetables like spinach and leafy greens can be added just before pouring the whole mixture into the thermos. • You can substitute beans and lentils for the mung beans. Heavier lentils and beans will need considerably more time. They should be cooked first after frying the spices. Then rice and vegetables should be added, in order. 33
  33. 33. Chapter 3 Ama and the Dhatus Ama refers to toxins, impurities and blockages that accumulate in the physiology. The localization of ama in the tissues disrupts and confuses the delicate biochemistry of the body, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms. When ama blocks the channels of circulation, like blood and lymph vessels, the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and balance in that area is lost and the fertile ground for disease is laid. If your personal experience is that you have any type of "chronic" disorder or symptoms that have not gone away even with modern medical or "natural" treatment approaches then ama is probably blocking the effect of your treatments. In Maharishi Ayurveda, the first treatment priority is removing ama by 1) stopping the lifestyle mistakes that create ama (we addressed this in the first chapter of the booklet) and 2) using natural Ayurvedic approaches to cleanse the body of ama where it may have accumulated. As ama accumulates in the body a wide variety of symptoms and disorders result. Localization of ama results in stiffness, aches and pains, heaviness, tiredness and dullness. Another whole set of symptoms and disorders gets created as the body tries to fight the aggravating effects of ama. For example, the result of this struggle between the body and ama can result in the build up of excess tissue in the form of fibroids, cysts, and a variety of tumors. Another set of symptoms comes when the immune system perceives ama as foreign material and fights it through inflammation in an attempt to remove the toxins. This can further result in a mistaken or "auto-immune" response against the body's own tissues. Unfortunately this can result in pain and/or swelling in that area. For example, conditions like arthritis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease are created and aggravated by the accumulation of ama. Ama can come from environmental pollutants, mental and emotional disorders and a variety of other sources. However, ama mainly comes from improperly digested foods. As a result of the indigestion large, misshaped, molecules become absorbed into the bloodstream as they have not been broken down properly in the digestive tract. Because the various channels and openings of the body are structured for smaller molecules the large ama particles start to block the fine pores and channels within cells and throughout the body. Many symptoms result from this process. For example because the cell pores are blocked they can start to build up toxins inside or even suffer from malnutrition as nutrients can't get in from the outside. As a result even though a person may have eaten a large meal they soon get hunger signals from the body because certain tissues truly are starving. The person eats more to satisfy this false hunger and starts to put on more weight, creates more ama, and gets dragged into a downward spiral of increasing imbalance on all levels. 34
  34. 34. Evaluating Your Ama Level In A Woman's Best Medicine for Menopause I described the general symptoms of ama accumulation and ama-free condition as follows. Consider these two lists as your general ama questionnaires and determine whether you have mainly symptoms of ama-filled or ama-free functioning. Symptoms of ama accumulation 1. You wake up tired even after a good nights sleep. 2. You feel lethargic 3. Your tongue is coated especially upon awaking in the morning 4. You don't feel real hunger even when you haven't eaten for hours 5. You have generalized aches and pains. They often are noticed the day after eating certain heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods 6. You lack mental clarity and energy 7. You have a sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole 8. You feel weary and unenthusiastic 9. You experience frequent indigestion like gas bloating and or heartburn 10. You feel blocked anywhere in the body, including constipation, sinus congestion and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of an ama-free physiology 1. You feel fresh, rested and even blissful upon awakening in the morning 2. Your skin has a healthy glow 3. Your tongue is pink and clear 4. Your body feels light, regardless of your weight 5. Aches and pains are disappearing 6. You do not feel bloated or heavy in the abdomen 7. You feel energetic during the day 8. You feel enthusiastic 9. Your mind is clear 10. People say, "Have you lost weight?" or "What are you doing you look so good". The Four Main Causes of Ama Following is a list of several of the major factors that create ama. 1. Eating a large, heavy meal in the evening. This is the single, largest and most common mistake that most people make. This behavior is especially problematical after 40 as the metabolism and digestion become slower. If you are overweight and over 40 it will be virtually impossible to reverse a weight problem without cutting back large evening meals. 2.Eating leftovers that have been in the refrigerator Food that has been cooked and then refrigerated is very high in ama creating qualities. Our diet should be fresh food freshly prepared for good health. 3. Eating processed, refined foods made by man and not by nature The more a food has been processed and fractions of it isolated by chemical processes the more it is high in ama creating quality. In Ayurvedic terms processing destroys the inner intelligence and 35
  35. 35. prana (life force) of the food. Processed foods to avoid as much as possible include canned, packaged and frozen foods. 4. Ingesting cold foods and drinks Cold depresses the digestive fire and increases the likelihood that ama will be created from food. Six Surefire Ama-Busting Approaches 1. Eat fresh food, freshly prepared. 2. Favor warm cooked food rather than large salads, sandwiches and other cold foods. 3. Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch when digestion is strongest. 4. Avoid consumption of large quantities of cheese and heavy meats. 5. Exercise daily. 6. Sip warm or hot water with meals and throughout the day. Determining Where Your Ama Has Accumulated: The Key to Eliminating Ama From Your Body Ama usually does not accumulate equally throughout the body. It is crucial for removing ama to determine specifically where it has gone. Ayurvedic treatment programs should be specific to the tissues the ama has accumulated in. Therefore the next step in understanding and removing ama is to learn about the Ayurvedic knowledge of tissues or "dhatus" The Seven Tissues (Dhatus) The dhatus are the 7 principles of biological intelligence responsible for forming the 7 major tissues of the body. The dhatus are not the tissues themselves but the underlying organizing principles responsible for forming those tissues. The seven dhatus are: 1. Rasa: lymph & nutrient fluid 2. Rakta: corpuscular blood 3. Mamsa: muscle 4. Medha: fat and hormones 5. Asthi: bone & connective tissue 6. Majja: nerves and bone marrow 7. Sukra: reproductive tissue, ova and sperm Ayurvedic theory describes the dhatus as forming in sequence from one to the other in this order. This is an especially important fact when treating imbalance. For example there may be osteoporosis, a clear disturbance of the asthi dhatu. However on close analysis there is also a significant imbalance in meda (fat, carbohydrate and hormone metabolism) the dhatu that precedes and turns into asthi. The Ayurvedic approach may require first putting attention on balancing meda in order to eventually balance asthi. Following is a questionnaire that will educate you more about the symptoms that occur when a dhatu is imbalanced and will help determine what ama may have localized in you. Again I recommend filling out the form in pencil so you can return and document your progress. 36
  36. 36. Analysis of Balance and Ama Accumulation in Your Tissues BLOOD PLASMA (RASA)-- The Clear Portion of the Blood _____Dry Skin _____Vaginal dryness _____Excess mucus or respiratory congestion _____Fatigue/tiredness _____Ovarian cysts (female) or hydrocoele (male) _____Underweight or early wrinkling of the skin _____ TOTAL RED BLOOD CELLS (RAKTA)- red blood cells and bile _____Hot flashes or frequently feeling hot _____Heavy menstrual bleeding or nose bleeds _____Skin rashes or acne _____Gallbladder problems _____Endometriosis _____Excessive thirst _____ TOTAL MUSCLES (MAMSA)- muscle tissue _____Muscle aches or pains _____Easily fatigued muscles _____Itchy ear canals or eczema of ear canal or excess ear wax _____Fibroids of the uterus (female) or enlarged prostate (male) _____Fibrous tumors of the breasts _____Dry, cracking lips _____ TOTAL FAT AND HORMONES (MEDA)- fat, hormone and carbohydrate metabolism _____Weight gain _____Diabetes or insulin resistance _____High cholesterol or triglycerides _____Malodorous sweat or body odor _____Fatty cysts under the skin, scalp or in the breasts _____Coronary artery disease _____ TOTAL 37
  37. 37. BONES (ASTHI)- bone, cartilage, hair and nail tissues _____Low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis) _____Hair breaking or split ends _____Hair with dryness or lack of lustre _____Nails breaking _____Joint pains or osteoarthritis _____Deep pains in the bones _____ TOTAL BONE MARROW (MAJJA)- the central nervous system tissue and immune system _____Frequent or recurring infections _____Excess secretions of the eyes _____Dryness of the upper portion of the eyelids (not inflammation or blepharitis) _____Immune system disorder _____Pain in the tendons, easily injured tendons or tendonitis _____Tendency for fainting, light-headedness or spaciness _____ TOTAL REPRODUCTIVE ESSENCE (SUKRA)- The egg and its supportive tissues _____Absence of libido or impotence (impaired erection or ejaculation) _____Severe vaginal dryness _____Lacking overall sexual attractiveness _____Dull eyes, lack of clarity of the eyes _____Infertility _____History of more than one miscarriage _____ TOTAL If you scored 3 or higher in any one tissue category that tissue is being affected to a significant degree by ama accumulation. If you scored 1-2 in any tissue category ama is beginning to form in that tissue. 38
  38. 38. Ayurvedic Dhatu Balancing Recommendations If your scores indicate ama is starting to accumulate in specific dhatus it is important to pay attention to the many areas of lifestyle, diet and eating behavior that have been described in this booklet. Dhatu Rasa (blood plasma) Rakta (red blood cells) Mamsa (muscles Factors that Disturb the Dhatu Reduce these factors if you have this dhatu imbalance. Rasa is imbalanced by factors that disturb digestion 1)low water intake, 2) fasting, 3) irregular meal times, 4) eating excessive quantities of dry foods 5) excess salt 6) eating before the previous meal is digested 7) overeating Rasa is also disturbed by 8) staying up late at night 9) insufficient sleep 10) mental stress, worry and fear 1) acidic foods like tomatoes, vinegar, fermented foods 2) alkaline (leavened with baking soda) 3) toxins like alcohol, nicotine, drugs, chemicals 4) frequent anger and frustration 5) hot, spicy foods 6) artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides 7) aged cheeses 8) violent movies or news shows 9) late bedtimes Mamsa is disturbed by factors that create dense, sticky ama. 1) old foods and leftovers 2) cheese, cold deli foods, ice cream 3) leftover or impure meats 4) overeating 5) deep fried foods 6) cold drinks 7) eating meat or cheese late in the day Lifestyle and dietary factors to favor that balance the dhatu. 1) drink plenty of water 2) eat sweet, juicy, fresh fruits (pears, grapes, plums, oranges, melons) 3) eat juicy vegetables (zucchinis, squashes, cucumber) 4) get more sleep 5) manage stress, ideally through the TM technique 6) perform abhyanga (herbalized oil massage) daily 1) more neutral taste diet, less spices 2) plenty of water intake 3) good quantities of fruits and vegetables 4) T M technique 5) bed before 10 6) reduce anger 7) don't skip meals, have regular meals mealtimes 8) drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice daily 9) include rose petal jam or rosewater in your diet (add to milk or lassi) 1) yoga, stretching 2) exercise 3) abhyanga 4) vegetarian diet 5) amla berry preparations (Indian grocery stores or MAPI 1-800-all-veda) 6) eat 1-2 dates a day and buckwheat at least once a weak 7) Strictly avoid red meat, pork and cheese 39
  39. 39. Meda (fat & Meda is disturbed by factors that carbohydrate clog and slow metabolism 1) overeating fats, refined sugar foods, metabolism & hormones) deep fried food and high calorie food 2) large evening meals 3) excess meat and cheese 4) impure cooking oils like nonorganic, refined vegetable oils 5) snacking late at night Asthi (bones, cartilage, teeth, nails) Asthi is most easily disturbed by factors that aggravate Vata dosha(Ch.3) 1) late nights 2) mental stress 3) irregular meals 4) smoking 5) toxins esp. mercury and lead 1) unnatural unwholesome foods (junk food, processed food, fake cakes, genetically engineered food, food not ripened on the vine) 2) corticosteroids that decrease bone marrow production (consult your doctor before changing intake of any prescribed medicine) 3) mental stress 4) plenty of sunlight 5) foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and B12 Shukra Shukra is disturbed by excess sexual (reproductive activity, exhaustion and poor essence, nutrition 1) excessive sexual activity sperm and 2) frequent childbirth ova) 3) carbonated beverages, baking soda, alcohol 4) mental and emotional stress 5) unwholesome foods lacking in nutrients 6) inadequate food intake 7) inadequate sleep Majja (bone marrow, immune system, brain and nerve cells) 1) increase exercise (consult your physician if you have any known condition) 2) increase fiber in the diet 3) eat organic foods 4) use organic, unrefined olive oil 5) eat bran, whole cooked grains, especially barley and quinoa, cooked, green, leafy vegetables, and legumes (lentils, dahls, dried beans, and peas) 1) adequate dietary calcium and Vitamin D 2) calcium rich foods like sesame seeds, tahini, broccoli, blanched almonds, kale, fresh asparagus 3) 30 minute walk in the rising sun without sunscreen if tolerated (sunscreen blocks vitamin D production) 4) abhyanga daily 1) more rest 2) gentle but regular ecercise 3) daily abhyanga 4) TM technique 5) healthy, pure, wholesome foods 6) walnuts, pecans, blanced almonds 7) warm blended date/milk shakes 8) rice pudding with basmati rice, raisins, chopped nuts, saffron and organic raw sugar to taste 1) practice moderation in sexual activity 2) to bed before 10 PM 3) daily abhyanga 4) eat nurturing foods like date milkshakes and rice pudding (#7&8 in majja above) 5) fresh asparagus 2-3 times a week 6) mangoes in season 7) one sweet juicy pear or apple each day. Importance of the sequence of dhatu development It is very important to also remember that the dhatus get built up one to the other in the sequence rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, shukra. If a dhatu early in the sequence is disturbed the others that follow will be weakened. For example often an asthi imbalance (osteoporosis) is created by a meda (fat and hormone) imbalance. Balance the first dhatus in the sequence to strengthen the later ones. 40
  40. 40. Following are two specific recommendations you can use to cleanse the dhatus 1. Ayurvedic Herbs: The Maharishi Amrit Kalash preparations with over 40 different herbs and fruits have a very powerful influence on cleansing the dhatus and opening the channels throughout the body. 2. Spice waters: Specific spices can help to "clear" specific dhatus of ama. Spice water is prepared by placing proper quantities of the dhatu specific spices in boiled hot water in a thermos and then drink that spice water throughout the day. The hot water penetrates through all the tissues carrying the specific cleansing effect of the spices into the tissues most affected by them. Spice waters are one of the simplest and most profound recommendations in all of Ayurveda. I highly recommend you use them daily for a period of 2 months at a time. Then take a month off, then retake the test and use your updated recipe for another two months. Repeat this cycle until you are ama-free! Following is a list of which spices to use for cleansing specific dhatus. Balance Area Basic recipe cumin Basic recipe coriander Basic recipe fennel Rasa ajwan Rakta Indian sarsaparilla root manjistha Mamsa Meda Balance Area Asthi Spice dried Indian Hibiscus flowers dried Indian Hibiscus flowers licorice root fenugreek seeds (crushed a little to release their effects) cinnamon stick Indian sarsaparilla root Spice marshmallow root Quantity Comments 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 tsp. helps absorption of nutrients 1/4 tsp. powder or leaves of tea cut size 1/4 teaspoon Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very different properties 1/4 teaspoon Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very different properties 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon Do not use if you have high blood pressure, fluid retention, breast cancer, fibroids or heavy bleeding. helps the kidneys cleanse the body strengthen the downward flow of elimination and reduces flatulence and bloating since ajwan is quite heating reduce or skip if you are having intense Pitta imbalance or hot flashes 1/4 inch 1/8 teaspoon Quantity 1/8 teaspoon Comments the herb! not the puffy, white marshmallows from the grocery store 41
  41. 41. Majja Shukra Indian sarsaparilla Indian sarsaparilla root bala root 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon fresh basil leaves marshmallow root Indian asparagus root marshmallow root 1/8 teaspoon 3 1/8 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon How to make your personal spice water recipe Drink each day for 2 months. Boil 2 quart(s) of water for 5 minutes. Pour into a thermos. Then add the following spices in WHOLE seed form to make the basic recipe. To individualize your water, take the dhatu test above. Then add the spices indicated in the dhatu chart above for each dhatu you scored 3 or higher in. That completes your spice water recommendation. Use the WHOLE seed, tea-cut or chunk form of the herb whenever available (except any turmeric, sandalwood or manjistha, which are powders). Rosebuds should be without stems or leaves. Many ingredients will be available at your local herb shop or whole foods store. All are also available through MAPI at 1-800-ALL-VEDA. Spice Quantity Area balancing Cumin 1/4 teaspoon Base recipe Coriander 1/4 teaspoon Base recipe Fennel 1/4 teaspoon Base recipe Then drink the water throughout the day. Allow the water to cool to lukewarm or room temperature after pouring into glass, before drinking. Please simply drink the water and do not eat the spices themselves. The water-soluble fraction of the spices will be helpful, but the other parts may be aggravating for your system. You may drink other water during the day according to thirst, but try to drink all the spiced water by 6PM. Drinking it later may keep you awake at night due to its mild diuretic effect. This spiced water must be made fresh every day. 42
  42. 42. Chapter 4 The Three Doshas -Vata, Pitta and Kapha ------------------------------------------------------------------ Section 1 The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha Ayurveda says there are two levels within us that must be coordinated and balanced in order for us to be healthy. The first level we are all familiar with. It is the material level of cells, tissues and organs. But Ayurveda describes how the material level is actually just an expression of biological intelligence and that biological intelligence is a subset of the intelligence at the basis of all natural phenomenon. According to Maharishi Ayurveda the intelligence level creates and controls the material level. Modern medicine diagnoses and treats the material level of cells, tissues and organs. Ayurveda diagnoses and treats the intelligence level. This is the difference between the two systems. The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha Biological intelligence in the human being has three subdivisions which control the various activities of the physiology. These three divisions are Vata, Pitta and Kapha - the three doshas. Although the knowledge of the doshas is very ancient it is actually more in line with the latest understanding of the world that modern science gives us than even modern medicine. Modern medicine is a very "classical physics" (the world is "particle" in nature) approach to the issues of health care, evaluating them all from a molecular perspective. We see this in its biochemical evaluation of virtually all aspects of health. The physiology is explained in biochemical terms and when modern medicine tries to cure you it usually just gives you a molecule (most prescription drugs are actually just one specific molecule). Such a molecular oriented approach would naturally culminate in the exploration of the molecule that makes all the other molecules. Thus the cutting edge of modern medicine is investigation into the function of DNA and the human genome project. However, modern physics abandoned the classical model over 60 years ago in favor of a quantum mechanical view of nature. In the quantum mechanical view it is fields in vibration that compose the structure of nature and explain its functioning in a way that classical physics never could. Quantum physics tells us the ultimate information in nature is not molecule based but quantum field based. An example of the power of fields to carry information is in modern television and radio. The tremendously complex information we receive from both is encoded in the vibratory activity of subtle fields. Maharishi Ayurveda is a very quantum mechanical view of health as Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the most fundamental fields of natural law which control all aspects of the physiology. If we think of a spectrum of natural law going from matter, to molecules, to atoms, to quantum fields, to the Unified Field, we see modern medicine located at the molecular level and Maharishi Ayurveda located at the gap between the Unified Field and the various quantum fields. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the very first manifestations of the Unified Field and their properties and function influence all the grosser, more expressed levels of natural law that ultimately arise from them. 43
  43. 43. Maharishi Vedic Medicine goes one step deeper than Maharishi Ayurveda and sees that the fundamental vibratory activity inherent in the Unified Field itself is what gives rise to the physiology. Maharishi Vedic Medicine actually performs a "human genome project", not on the level of molecules, but on the level of the vibratory activity within the Unified Field. Vedic Science calls these primordial vibrations the Veda and the discovery of Veda at the basis of human physiology is the Vedic traditions most profound approach to health care. The home page of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International contains a very full description of Maharishi Ayurveda and its relation to Maharishi Vedic Medicine and The Discovery of Veda in Human Physiology. Basic Functions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Vata Vata governs bodily functions concerned with movement. Vata is especially involved in the movement of electrical activity up and down the nerves and therefore has a major function in the nervous system and brain. The flow of food through the digestive tract and the circulation also are controlled by the function of Vata. Pitta Pitta governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism and energy production. Pitta’s main activities are to control the chemical transformation processes associated with digestion and metabolism. Kapha Kapha governs bodily functions concerned with physical structure and fluid balance. Kapha is mainly concerned with fluid balance and the buildup of the gross structure of the body including fat, tissues and muscles. These three types of processes can be seen at the basis of any system in nature. For example, think of a car. It has moving wheels and parts that would be like the “Vata” function. It has an internal combustion engine that creates chemical transformations to turn gasoline into heat and energy to power the car. This is like the “Pitta” function. The car also has a chassis that provides the overall structure for the vehicle. This is like the “Kapha” function. Food is evaluated for its strength and balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. For example, an apple is high in Vata quality, hot pungent spices have strong Pitta activity and heavy desserts and sweets are high in Kapha. Behavior is analyzed for its influence on the Vata, Pitta and Kapha fields. For example, staying up late at night increases and disturbs Vata. Eating a large meal late in the evening aggravates Kapha. Exercising in the hot sun can aggravate Pitta. This Vedic perspective of health is effective because it is rooted in the deepest quantum mechanical reality of nature’s functioning. The classical level of molecules that modern medicine deals with is very superficial compared to the quantum mechanical world from which Vedic Science functions. 44
  44. 44. The Daily Cycles of Vata, Pitta and Kapha The environment and physiology have many natural cycles and rhythms that should be taken into account in our daily patterns of living. The basis of much of the Ayurvedic daily routine described in Chapter 1 is the fact that Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and the functions they control, become more enlivened at different times of the day. Following are the times when Vata, Pitta and Kapha and their corresponding physiological functions are most active. Time of Day Dosha most Active 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM Vata 6:00 AM to 10:AM Kapha 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Pitta 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM Vata 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM Kapha 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM Pitta Behavioral effects and recommendations Arise, Bathe, Meditate Exercise Note: avoid sleeping into this period Digestion is strongest so have lunch as your largest meal Tendency to tiredness, afternoon herbal tea, meditate Evening walk to bed by 10:00 PM Sleep, Metabolic "housecleaning" For optimal health and healing, we need to align our behavior to gain maximum support from the natural, rhythmic swings of Vata, Pitta and Kapha activity. Simply stated we want "support of nature" for our most important physiological activities. Eat you largest meal at lunch when Pitta makes digestion strongest. Go to bed in Kapha time when your sleep will come more easily and deeply. Sleep through Pitta time so as not to disrupt your natural internal cleansing cycle and to allow full rejuvenation of your mind and senses. Disregarding the laws of nature leads to illness. Living in accord with natural law brings the full support of the healing power of nature that underlies the growth and development of all living things. This is one of life's basic lessons and a guiding principle of Ayurveda. Section 2 Qualities and Characteristic of Vata, Pitta and Kapha If we learn the state of balance and imbalance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha within us, it will help us in understanding why we have a disorder and what we can do to eliminate it. Following are lists of the defining characteristics of Vata, Pita and Kapha. Read them with an eye as to which one most describes what is going on within your physiology. Qualities of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Vata Moving, quick, light, minute, rough, dry, leads Pitta and Kapha 45
  45. 45. Pitta hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly oily Kapha Heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull Characteristics of Vata, Pitta or Kapha Predominance in the Physiology- "Constitutional Body Type" As you read the qualities of the three doshas listed below, think about which best describes you. That dosha is your "predominant" dosha. Everyone has all three doshas lively within them, but 1 or 2 are usually more predominant than the others. Vata • • • • • • • • • • • • • Lighter, thinner build Performs activity quickly Tendency toward dry skin especially in winter Aversion to cold weather Irregular hunger and digestion Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget Tendency toward worry Tendency toward constipation Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep Enthusiastic and vivacious by nature Walks quickly Difficulty making decisions or often changes mind Talkative Pitta • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Moderate build Performs activity with medium speed Aversion to hot weather Perspires easily Prefers cold food and drinks Sharp hunger and digestion Can’t skip meals Medium time to grasp new information Medium memory Strong intellect Great precision and organization Tendency toward reddish hair and complexion, moles and freckles Good public speakers Tendency toward irritability and anger Enterprising and sharp in character Kapha • Solid, heavier build • Gains weight easily • Greater strength and endurance • Oily, smooth skin • Slow digestion, mild hunger 46